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SoCal Real Estate Fraudster Gets Five Years

SAN DIEGO (CN) - A Carlsbad-based real estate consultant was sentenced to five years in federal prison for running a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud conspiracy in three states and evading taxes, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

John J. Borzellino also was ordered to pay $4,138,660 in restitution, prosecutors said in a statement announcing his Friday sentencing.

Borzellino, 53, aka John J. Ross, was "a self-proclaimed real estate consultant with business ventures throughout the United States," prosecutors said in the statement. They said he fraudulently induced lenders to provide more than $8 million in loans to buy real estate in California, Florida and Georgia.

"Borzellino arranged to purchase homes in these various states by offering more than the seller's asking price - with the understanding that the money over-and-above the asking price would be funneled to an entity under Borzellino's control," prosecutors said in the statement. "Borzellino disguised the funds diverted to him by falsely characterizing them as 'commissions' or 'consulting fees' to be paid by the sellers at closing."

He also used a slew of false statements to get the loans, and "assumed a number of false identities to conceal his role in these transactions," prosecutors said.

Carlsbad is a wealthy coastal suburb of San Diego.

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